Today is Sunday, February 9, 2020. I am watching TV, ESPN. The show is The Undefeated, a regular feature of that channel. It begins with clips of Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, DeShaun Watson, Kyler Murray, Dak Prescott, Teddy Bridgewater, Jameis Winston, Jacoby Brissett and Dwayne Haskins. Can you guess the title of that segment of the show? What do those 10 names have in common? If you don’t know, you’re not a football fan. They are all black NFL quarterbacks, good ones. They are, for the most part, franchise quarterbacks. Teddy isn’t yet, technically, because he’s a backup, but I predict he will once again be a starter next season. Either Drew Brees will retire, or another team will trade for Bridgewater’s services. Cam Newton is the 11th black franchise quarterback, but he was injured the entire season. That’s 11 black quarterbacks out of 32 starters (I’m including Teddy as a starter since he was before injury and will be again). This is apparently the Year of the Black QB!
What is a franchise quarterback? He is the field leader of a multi-billion dollar NFL franchise, the person most identified with the brand, even more than the head coach or the owner, with perhaps the exception of Jerry Jones, the very high profile owner of the Dallas Cowboys. He is generally the highest paid player on the team, the least likely to get in legal or financial trouble, the most likely to embody a certain set of values. That set of values includes…..well, let’s tune in to Gita Gulati-Partee, a person of color-POC-who teaches and writes about “culture and privilege”, two of the wokest buzzwords, along with “diversity and inclusion”. Gee, to all you homeless folks out there who are having trouble finding jobs (assuming you are willing to tolerate schedules, expectations and performance reviews), the road to employment is simple! Just reinvent yourself as an expert in any or all of those words: culture, privilege, diversity, inclusion. But I digress.
What does Ms. Gita have to say? In her study, Paying Attention to White Culture and Privilege: A Missing Link to Advancing Racial Equity, by Gita Gulati-Partee and Maggie Potapchuk, she summarized what she and others of her ilk call “white culture”:
By “white culture,” we mean the dominant, unquestioned standards of behavior and ways of functioning embodied by the vast majority of institutions in the United States. Because it is so normalized it can be hard to see, which only adds to its powerful hold. In many ways, it is indistinguishable from what we might call U.S. culture or norms – a focus on individuals over groups, for example, or an emphasis on the written word as a form of professional communication. But it operates in even more subtle ways, by actually defining what “normal” is – and likewise, what “professional,” “effective,” or even “good” is. In turn, white culture also defines what is not good, “at risk,” or “unsustainable.” White culture values some ways – ways that are more familiar and come more naturally to those from a white, western tradition – of thinking, behaving, deciding, and knowing, while devaluing or rendering invisible other ways.
The real issue is “where does government start?” In Christianity, the initial unit of government is self-government. Our nation’s founders understood this: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” John Adams. “If men were angels, no government would be necessary. We have staked the whole future of our new nation, not upon the power of government; far from it. We have staked the future of all our political constitutions upon the capacity of each of ourselves to govern ourselves according to the moral principles of the Ten Commandments.” James Madison.
The focus on individual government rather than group government is not “White culture”, it is a manifestation of Christianity rather than Collectivism—Communism, National Socialism (i.e. Nazism)—or those religions which emphasize the clan or group over individuals. Collectivism in both economic and religious pursuits has demonstrated a historical disregard for human rights—the lives of individuals—sacrificing countless lives for their collectivist ideal, their utopia. Those systems can’t even understand why we make such a big deal out of rescuing hostages and protecting our troops. Allow me one more digression before I return to the topic of the Year of the Black QB. In six wars between Israel and Arab/Islamic forces, Israel was victorious despite their comparatively paltry numbers of both troops and equipment, and despite their unwillingness to sacrifice lives to gain objectives. Why? The main reason was the “bottom up” leadership and initiative of their individual soldiers, compared to the ineffectiveness of the “top down”, authoritarian systems of the enemy. Collectivism always leads to waste of lives, lack of initiative, poor leadership, and inefficiency.
NFL franchise quarterbacks are leaders in a multi-billion dollar enterprise, leading multi-millionaires. The most successful share the following traits and values: precise communication skills, rapid information processing ability, personal initiative, care for other individuals, leadership by example, understanding of strategy and tactics, typically stellar character and being generally law abiding in their personal lives, U.S. cultural norms. My point is, those characteristics are not “white” culture, they are not “black”, rather they comprise a formula for success—at the highest level of sports, and in business.